Woman with maggot-borne disease dies

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 15 November, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 15 November, 2007, 12:00am

A woman with myiasis - a disease caused by parasitic fly larvae feeding on living tissue - died yesterday, three days after she was admitted to Prince of Wales Hospital with shortness of breath and bleeding gums.

It was the eighth case of human myiasis this year. Fifteen cases were reported last year, six cases in 2005, eight in 2004 and nine in 2003.

The Centre for Health Protection, under the Health Department, said the Sha Tin woman, 77, had no recent travel history.

The centre said maggots were found in her mouth, but the cause of death had not been established.

Human myiasis cases are caused by parasitic fly maggots, which infect superficial wounds and the body's orifices.

The larvae feed on the host's dead and living tissue and may cause serious tissue damage, resulting in loss of function, injury to the skin, secondary invasion and death.

The centre also confirmed a case of cholera yesterday and reminded people to observe good personal, food and environmental hygiene.

The case involved a woman, 43, who developed diarrhoea on October 29. She was admitted to Princess Margaret Hospital on Monday and was in stable condition last night.

Laboratory tests showed that her stool specimen had a positive result for Vibrio cholerae O1 El Tor Ogawa. The centre's investigation revealed the patient had travelled with 13 other people in a tour group to India on October 19 to 26. The centre is contacting the other tour members.

The woman lives in Eastern District; her family had not shown symptoms. Three cholera cases, including two imported ones, have been reported this year. There was one case last year, five in 2005, five in 2004, seven in 2003 and four in 2002.